Here’s another one of those enjoyable “Findings” features from Harper’s Magazine.
By Rafil Kroll-Zaidi
In Scotland, Donald Trump was attempting to stop the wind harvest, there was disagreement over whether the rare pine marten would drive the rare capercaillie to re-extinction, an English egg thief was sentenced to his fourth prison term and banned from entering the country during nesting season, fewer birds of prey were being poisoned, scientists confirmed the uniqueness of northern prongwort, young otters were discovered in a post office and a seafood restaurant, and the Edinburgh Zoo suspended its penguin parade. An extinct crocodile was named for Rudyard Kipling. Ecologists captured a new species of spiny-scaled venomous sea snake in the Gulf of Carpentaria but were unable to investigate it further because they feared being killed by box jellyfish, bull sharks, and saltwater crocodiles. A Dutch ecologist found that 99 percent of the Hydrobia ulvae snails he fed to mallards died within five hours. Researchers found twice the coefficient of friction between an inclined ramp and an alert albino corn snake as between the ramp and an albino corn snake who had been drugged unconscious. Engineers involved in the project used their data to build Scalybot 2, and a Navy-funded team unveiled a hydrogen-powered version of its biomimetic Robojelly.
An Alaskan brown bear was reported to have scratched its face with barnacled rocks, making it the first bear seen using tools since 1972, when a Svalbardian polar bear is alleged to have clubbed a seal in the head with a block of ice. The wounds of black bears were found to heal during hibernation, and fruit flies were found to drink alcohol in response to sexual failure and to the presence of wasps growing inside them. Scientists described a leaf-eating moth, Antispila oinophylla, that was destroying Italian vineyards and that prefers cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, and muscat. Scientists gained a better understanding of why lily of the valley appeals to human sperm. The fear-inducing Schreckstoff emitted by injured fish was identified as sugarlike fragments that activate other fish’s crypt cells. Mathematicians disrupted the Lévy flight of bumblebees using artificial spiders. The Bruce effect was documented among wild gelada monkeys, and the European Space Agency’s Goce satellite mapped the Moho Boundary. Weightlessness was found to squish the eyeballs of astronauts. Engineers created a laser unprinter.
Japanese women are quicker to detect the presence of a snake after they ovulate. Exhausted police officers are half as likely as unexhausted counterparts to identify fake burglars in a lineup. Fewer American children were injuring themselves on stairs. Babies who are fed on demand do better on the SAT. Growing older and fatter does not make Americans and Britons unhappy. Venus’s rotation continued to slow. The Midwest suffered a rare outbreak of night tornadoes and a decline in ovenbirds due to earthworms. Methuselina, the oldest ewe in the world, died in a fall from a cliff. China and Nepal continued to disagree over the height of Mount Everest. Doctors arrested the growth of the world’s tallest man. Men were not, as previously believed, going extinct. Rich people are likelier to steal candy from children.